Feeling a bit frazzled from the daily hustle and bustle of busy work and school schedules? If you are having trouble finding time to spend with your family and activities to fit your budget, finding things to do in Shenandoah Valley is a breeze. With the variety of free activities, bring the family to the Valley for a little rest and relaxation.
On your getaway to the Valley, be sure to bring your bikes for the abundance of biking trails the area has to offer. With on and off road routes, there are plenty of trails to choose from depending on skill level. On the Greenville-Raphine route, you will bike 7.9 miles down Route 11, Lee Jackson Memorial Highway. Along the ride there are great views of pastures and the Spy Mountains in the St Mary’s Wilderness Area. For lunch on your ride, the Cyrus McCormick Farm has picnic areas and a museum with free admission. The Farm is on the family farm of Cyrus Hall McCormick, inventor of the mechanical reaper and covers five acres. The facility is open daily from 8:00am-5:00pm.
Another must see museum offering free admission is the Lee Chapel and Museum on the Washington and Lee University Campus. The Museum area of the chapel brings attention to Lee’s life and career with focus on his post-war presidency of Washington College. In the lower level of the Chapel, Lee’s office remains just as he left it. Robert E Lee, his family and even his horse Traveller are buried there. The Chapel is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00am-5:00pm and Sundays from 1:00pm-5:00pm.
For a fun afternoon activity, stop by the Route 11 Potato Chips factory. Open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9:00am-5:00pm, visitors can watch all the action of the chip frying process from their retail store, at no charge. Offering a variety of samples while you watch, there’s no better place to stop off and have a snack. Located at 11 Edwards Way in Mount Jackson, VA, this facility offers flavors ranging from the classics Lightly Salted and Barbeque to flavors named Mama Zuma’s Revenge and Chesapeake Crab.
Across the Shenandoah Valley, there are quite a few festivals coming up for the fall season offering free music and activities for the entire family. The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum will be hosting the Children’s Harvest Festival on October 19th from 1:00pm-5:00pm. The Festival will offer story time, trail tours, snacks, musical performances, crafts and dance lessons, all offered for free. Visit the website for directions and more information about the event. The town of Strasburg also hosts a free festival known as Music in the Park which runs through October 6th. This program showcases local talent and offers a stage for new talent to perform. Visitors are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs and set up outside Hometown Park located beside the Fire Hall in downtown Strasburg. All concerts are Sundays from 5:00pm-7:00pm, weather permitting.
Every Saturday from May to October, the town of Staunton, Virginia offers walking tours of the historic downtown area. The town was founded in 1732 by Scots-Irish settler John Lewis. The tours discuss all six of Staunton’s Historic Districts and last about two hours. No reservations needed and tours are always free of charge.
While in the Shenandoah Valley for your family getaway, check out the specials offered from the Hummingbird Inn in the small town of Goshen, Virginia. The Inn is offering a free one night stay, good all year round. When you book any three nights, you will get the fourth night free, saving you up to $175 plus tax. With its laid back country hospitality, luxurious guest rooms, and views from the upper and lower wrap around porches, you are sure to find peace and quiet at the end of your long day of exploring things to do in Shenandoah Valley.
Photo courtesy of Dave